Black-necked cranes sighted in Assam

Black-necked crane at Manas National Park in Assam
Black-necked crane at Manas National Park in Assam | Photo: Nilutpal Mahanta

A pair of black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) was sighted in the outskirts of the Panbari range of Manas National Park in Assam.

The black-necked crane, which migrates from its breeding grounds in the Tibetan Plateau, has three wintering sites in India all of which are in Arunachal Pradesh, including the Sangte and Chugh valleys in West Kameng district. The black-necked cranes, called ‘trung-trung karmo’ by the Monpas, stopped coming to the Sangte and Chugh valleys two years ago.

A group of researcher and naturalists confirmed the sighting after visiting the location.

“We are so excited. It’s a major development. The black-necked crane has never been sighted in Assam. We suspect it might have flown all the way from the Tibetan Plateau,” Nilutpal Mahanta, a researcher scholar at Gauhati University told The News Mill.

Mahanta has also been able to click the birds.  He said it was local photographer Imran Ahmed of Barpeta first sighted the bird inside Manas National Park on the bank of river Manas near Murabari beat office on January 10 this year.

Later, again on February 17, a pair of this bird was sighted in the outskirts of Panbari range of the national park, which was reported by Tiken Ray, a member of Wildlife Trust of India field team.

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Black-necked crane confirmed by researchers, naturalists

After that on February 18, a group of researchers and naturalists led by Mahanta with Pallav Pranjal Sarma and Indrani Adhyapak visited the site and confirmed the pair of bird to be black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis).

“Upon proper scientific investigation, it was found that this is the first-ever record of a Black-necked crane in Assam,” Mahanta reckoned.

As there are no previous records of this bird in Assam, it does not have any vernacular name. Locals of Panbari have named bird as “Deu Korchon” (Deu means related to god and mythology and Korchon means crane) as it has mythological importance in Buddhist culture.

A few days ago, the locals in Tinsukia had a rare sight of mandarin duck which is termed as the ‘most beautiful duck in the world’, possibly for the first time in 120 years. It was sighted in the Maguri-Motapung beel.

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